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Dynamic Multi-System Resilience in Human Aging/Resilience in New Mexico’s Indigenous Communities

From Complex Time

November 13, 2018
12:40 pm - 1:20 pm


Porter Swentzell (Institute of American Indian Arts)


This presentation focuses on the Indigenous Pueblo nations of New Mexico. In particular, the focus is on resilience among Tewa-speaking Pueblo communities of northern New Mexico. Pueblo peoples have managed to find creative ways to survive and thrive as sedentary agriculturalists for thousands of years in the high desert environment of the southwestern United States. Through the impositions of various waves of colonialism, Pueblo people have relied on their axiologies to maintain strong linguistic and cultural traditions in the communities they have lived in for centuries. The Pueblo approach to resilience serves as an example for peoples in New Mexico and perhaps around the world.

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Post-meeting Reflection

Porter Swentzell (Institute of American Indian Arts) Link to the source page

There was fascinating information presented during the first day. My background is not in the field of geriatrics or human aging so I learned a great deal during the course of the day. I was particularly interested in systems theory and its connection with aging and stress factors. This information resonated strongly with my own thoughts regarding human societies and cultures through time. My own interest is in social systems and I wonder what these findings mean for aging within these systems. How do specific social systems promote or degrade resiliency? What is the role of culture in the study of human aging? How often are cultural differences considered in bio-medical studies of aging?

The presentations during the second day gave some practical insights into resilience. The presentation of ecological models by Ingrid Leemput were useful analogues in thinking about human aging and resilience. I cannot help but think about how human experiences are often extracted out of ecology and perhaps vice versa. How do perturbances in our environments impact human resilience in multiple ways? Heather Whitson's real-life example resonated with many of my own experiences and made the idea of resilience much more visceral. I appreciated the discussion of mice aging in comparison with human aging. Overall, lots of food for thought.

Reference Material

Title Author name Source name Year Citation count From Scopus. Refreshed every 5 days. Page views Related file
Rethinking resilience from indigenous perspectives Laurence J. Kirmayer, Stéphane Dandeneau, Elizabeth Marshall, Morgan Kahentonni Phillips, Karla Jessen Williamson Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 2011 240 8